Deputies along Florida’s Treasure Coast arrested a couple after what they called a “horrific” case of abuse involving three teens found inside their home starving and locked up for months.
St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office deputes arrested 40-year-old Oscar Torres and his 32-year-old wife, Brittany Kirschenhofer, on Tuesday after an investigation at their Port St. Lucie home that started following an anonymous complaint in early February.
NBC affiliate WPTV-TV reports the teens, a 17-year-old and 16-year-old twins, were found locked in their bedrooms for hours at a time and fed sporadically throughout the day.
"The three teenage victims weighed well below the accepted standard for their ages,” chief deputy Brian Hester said in a news conference.
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The abused teens are children of Torres and three of five total children who lived inside the home. Detectives said they were treated “much, much differently” than the other two children, but would not go into details about why that was the case.
"Statements made by one of the victims indicated that some physical abuse did occur to at least one of the three victims," Hester said.
Investigators said one of the teens weighed just 50 pounds while having lost muscle control and other bodily functions. Officials said the teens were attending virtual school and had not left the home since December.
Torres and Kirschenhofer, who are being held without bond on three counts of child abuse, told deputies the locks on the teens' doors were used to keep their dogs contained and that all of the children could move freely in the home.
The children were removed from the home February 22nd and are now in the custody of their biological mother, who said she was unaware of the abuse.
The other two children, ages 9 and 6 who are the biological children of Kirschenhofer, are living with other relatives.